A Look at how the Experts Drafted in a 2-QB Fantasy Football League

With a website dedicated to 2-QB fantasy football leagues waking up on the Thursday morning of February 7th to a tweet from Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus asking for participants in a 2-QB league mock draft was like waking up on Christmas morning ready to tear into all my new gifts. However, the tweet in question was an hour old (that’s like decades in the Twittersphere) by the time I had read it and by then it was too late as all the mock draft slots had been filled up. Oh well.

There was nothing I could do about that other than to see what some of the most renowned fantasy football experts out there would do in a 12-team 2-QB league format. And to tell you the truth I don’t know if I would have been ready to go up against those heavy hitters so I’m kind of glad I missed out.

Fast forward almost two weeks later and Clay tweeted out that the #GoingDeep mock draft trial 2-QB league he set up had completed its draft. I thought it would be interesting to see what the results were and how these particular fantasy football experts viewed quarterbacks in a 2-QB league format.

Before I delve deep into the mock draft results below I’ve posted the names of the twelve mock drafters that took part and if you click on each one of their names you’ll be directed to their respective Twitter accounts:

As you can see from that list you’ve got a murderers’ row of fantasy football minds with writers from top-notch sites like Pro Football Focus, Footballguys and Rotoworld.

It’s almost time to look at the draft results themselves but before I do so now would be a good time to point out that it’s not a true 2-QB league. In this specific 2-QB league you are allowed to start up to two quarterbacks, one in the QB starting line-up slot and the other in the flex position. Really, you can look at it as sort of a 1.5-QB league. On top of that the scoring rules for quarterbacks is 0.03 points for every 1 yard passing (0.75 for every 25 passing yards) and 4 points for every passing touchdown.

By reading Clay’s Twitter timeline it looks like he was devaluing the QB position in this league when you compare it to other types of fantasy formats such as a 2-QB league in which passing touchdowns are worth 6 points and you get 1 point for every 25 yards passing. When I asked Clay on Twitter for clarification on the number of quarterbacks that you can start he replied saying that he had to make one of the QB slots a flex, “because of bye weeks.”


@ No, you can’t handcuff people by forcing 2 QBs. Have to make it a flex because of bye weeks.
@MikeClayNFL
Mike Clay

That makes sense when you think about it. In a league where there are 12 teams and starting two quarterbacks each week is mandatory you’re looking at 24 quarterbacks being drafted. At least. When you factor in bye weeks there aren’t enough QBs for each team to draft two starters and one back-up, as that would equal 36 quarterbacks in a league where only 32 start usually, minus bye weeks throughout the season.

However, that’s the main reason why I play in 2-QB leagues. I want more roster spots in my fantasy football world and I want to be the one that takes advantage of drafting three quarterbacks so that I’m prepared for bye weeks or just having two quarterbacks on my roster and not worrying about bye weeks at all. That could just be me though.

With all that in mind let’s finally probe into the draft results of this 2-QB mock draft by focusing solely on the quarterbacks that were drafted. Below you’ll find two spreadsheets.

One shows you the quarterbacks drafted in order, along with their current ADP:

Mike Clay's 2-QB Deep League Mock Draft Results

Mike Clay’s 2-QB Deep League Mock Draft Results

The other spreadsheet shows each team’s QB depth chart:

Mike Clay's 2-QB Deep League Mock Draft QB Depth Charts

Mike Clay’s 2-QB Deep League Mock Draft QB Depth Charts

A total of 216 players were drafted and out of that number 31 were quarterbacks.

The first quarterback taken off the board was Aaron Rodgers in the 3rd round at 3.02. After that was Drew Brees at 3.11. Rodgers and Brees were the only quarterbacks taken in the first three rounds. The current ADP for Rodgers is 18.41 (mid-2nd round in a 12-team league) and for Brees it’s 30.41 (mid-3rd round in a 12 team league). Rodgers, drafted by Jim Day, at 26 overall, and Brees by Alex Miglio at 35, were both drafted slightly later than their ADPs. How can a league where you can start up to two quarterbacks only have two quarterbacks drafted within the first 36 picks? The answer has to do with the format of the league itself. QB points are devalued, not to mention that you only really have to start one quarterback if you want. What that means is that quarterbacks aren’t much of a difference maker in this league, even when you can start one in the flex position.

However, even with that in mind, quarterbacks were still being drafted early, with 16 quarterbacks drafted in total within the first six rounds of the draft. Each owner drafted their QB1 within the first six rounds with Jeff Ratcliffe being the last owner to draft a QB1, leaving him with Joe Flacco as his QB1.

In fact, Evan Silva, Miglio, Clay and Ryan Forbes had each selected both of their two starting quarterbacks before Ratcliffe even drafted his first. I’m sure JJ over at lateroundqb.com would be quite proud of Ratcliffe’s strategy.

Silva was the first to fill out his QB1 and QB2 slots and did so by taking Tom Brady at 4.06 and Colin Kaepernick at 5.07. Miglio took Brees at 3.02 and Matthew Stafford at 6.02, Clay went with the Manning Bros., Peyton at 5.05 and Eli at 6.08, and Forbes’ QB1 and QB2 tandem consists of Robert Griffin III at 5.08 and Matt Ryan at 6.05.

There was only one owner that didn’t select a QB2 at all and that was Sigmund Bloom, who only drafted one quarterback and that was Russell Wilson with the 12th pick in the 5th round. It would be interesting to hear why he only went with one quarterback but when you look at his team you can see that he went a different direction drafting a high number of wide receivers, running backs and tight ends, and in this league TE receptions are worth 1.5 points.  Bloom did take two of the best tight ends in Jimmy Graham and Aaron Hernandez, which will be quite the advantage over the rest of the league if he starts them both each week {Editor’s Note: On Twitter after this article was published Bloom pointed out that you actually do start two tights ends each week in this league, which gives him even more of an advantage with Hernandez and Graham.}.

The last owner to draft his QB2 was, once again, Ratcliffe, who followed his late QB1 selection of Flacco at 6.12 with Ryan Tannehill at 10.12.

After Ratcliffe took Flacco at the end of the 6th round, Cutler went in the 7th round to Pat Daugherty, who completed his QB1 and QB2 tandem of Tony Romo (6.04) and Cutler (7.09).

Then there was a bit of a quarterbacking lull between the Cutler and Tannehill picks, with only six more quarterbacks being drafted:

Josh Freeman (9.02), Philip Rivers (9.03), Jake Locker (10.03), Michael Vick (10.07), Matt Schaub (10.09), and Sam Bradford (10.10).

From there it was bye week fill-ins and quarterbacks with potential drafted with a total of seven taken after Tannehill; all in all six owners drafted a QB3 and one owner (Bryan Fontaine) even took a QB4.

When you look at the spreadsheet of the final quarterback depth charts for each owner what you see is a lot of depth. That’s going to be the key word in 2-QB fantasy football leagues this season and one you’ll tire of me using over and over again. Hopefully you won’t hold it against me. Out of the twelve teams you can’t say anybody really has a bad 1-2 QB tandem, can you?

Sure, there are some question marks like Tannehill, Freeman, Rivers, Schaub, and Locker at QB2 but any of those quarterbacks should make for a serviceable QB2, don’t you think? When you pair them up with a good QB1 you have even less worry, as Day did with Freeman (QB1: Rodgers), Adam Levitan with Schaub (QB1: Roethlisberger) and Fontaine did with Locker (QB1: Luck). The Flacco/Tannehill and Dalton/Rivers combos might not seem to be the most attractive looking duos but they are still two decent quarterbacking duos and I have seen much worse during my years of playing in 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

Then when you look at where they were drafted and what the ADP for the quarterback position currently is you can’t be all that upset with the picks:

Quarterback QB Draft Position QB ADP
Tannehill 25 21
Freeman 19 17
Rivers 20 20
Schaub 23 23
Locker 21 26

Rivers and Schaub matched their ADP, Tannehill and Freeman both were picked later than their ADP has them at and Locker was the only true reach, but Fontaine did take two other quarterbacks in Ponder and Sanchez. Also, this is just my own person take, I believe that Tannehill is going to have himself a much better sophomore season in the NFL and will improve upon his play and stats from last season, which could happen if they do incorporate some read-option offense in the Dolphins playbook and they bring in a true #1 wide receiver like Greg Jennings.

When you look at all the picks made and see where each of the quarterbacks were drafted there were some reaches and some value picks. The first one that comes to mind is Clay’s selection of Peyton Manning. With the 53rd overall pick Clay took Manning, who was the 6th quarterback selected. Compare that to the QB ADP, where Manning is being drafted on average as the 11th QB and there’s quite the discrepancy. Now, is Manning not a potential top-5 fantasy quarterback? I’m not saying that, as he did finish 2012 as the 6th highest scoring fantasy quarterback. But in terms of value and ADP it was a bit of reach. But, really though, it’s not a pick I would truly consider a bad pick, as it will be Manning’s second year in that Broncos’ offense with the weapons he has, the confidence he has in himself and the system, and he could easily be the number one scoring fantasy quarterback next season. I’m probably more shocked at his low ADP, than anything else, but I’m sure that Manning’s ADP will probably move up the closer we get to the start of the fantasy football draft season, which will make Clay’s selection of him much more reasonable. I just pointed out the Manning draft pick to show how ADP and value works in 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

Photo from Zimbio.com (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images North America)

Photo from Zimbio.com
(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images North America)

I thought the biggest QB value, and a major steal, was the selection of Matt Ryan at 6.05 by Ryan Forbes. Ryan was the 13th drafted quarterback and when looking at his ADP he’s the 9th QB taken on average. A top ten fantasy football quarterback was drafted as a QB2! That’s just wild to me. To top it off, Forbes had also drafted RG3 (5.08) earlier so he has a QB1-QB2 tandem of RG3 and Ryan. Not to mention that he also took Kirk Cousins late (14.05) as RG3’s handcuff in case RG3 isn’t good to go. If I were handing out fake awards for the fake team that had the best fake quarterback draft it would have to go to Forbes, with Miglio (Brees/Stafford) and Silva (Brady/Kaepernick/Pryor) tied for second.

Those three teams stood out to me the most after looking over the draft results and if I was able to walk away with any three of their quarterbacking combinations I would in a heartbeat. If you add up the combined top two quarterbacks on each team based on standard scoring points from last season Forbes’ team would be number one with 622.36 points scored from Ryan and RG3, and that could have been even higher if it wasn’t for the time RG3 missed last season.

Here’s how the points scored would have looked like for each team’s top two scoring quarterbacks from last season using last season’s points totals for a standard scoring setting (remember in this league you only get 0.03 points for every passing yard, which is less than the standard):

Forbes – 622.36
Miglio – 621.16
Day – 592.10
Clay – 543.88
Silva – 514.34
Loechner – 481.54
Spratt – 475.14
Fontaine – 469.66
Daugherty – 463.54
Levitan – 445.82
Ratcliffe – 417.74
Bloom – 275.62

Going over those numbers I came up with the following observations:

  • Day drafting the first quarterback provided him a top-3 finish.
  • Miglio taking the highest scoring quarterback from last season and pairing him with the 11th highest scoring fantasy quarterback gave him the second best quarterback tandem.
  • Silva might have been the first to draft two quarterbacks but only had the 5th highest scoring duo, although a full season of Kaepernick stats would change that in a hurry.
  • Ratcliffe being the last to draft his QB1 and QB2 would have paid the price for that strategy, as Forbes’ quarterbacking duo would have scored 13.41 points more per game than Ratcliffe’s, which is a pretty significant difference.

In a 1-QB 12-team league the difference between Day’s Rodgers, who was the first quarterback taken in this draft, and Romo, who was the 12th quarterback drafted would have been 4.04 points per game, and the difference between Rodgers and Flacco, the last QB1 taken in this draft, would have been 6.8 points per game. Obviously, and you don’t really need me to say this, but 13.41 points per game is better than 4.04 or 6.8 points per game. That’s a difference of either an extra 9.4 or 6.6 points per game when starting two quarterbacks instead of one.

When you take everything into account such as when quarterbacks were drafted, which teams drafted early at the quarterback position, which teams drafted late at the quarterback position, which teams took care of their QB1 and QB2 slots early, you come to the realization that in a 2-QB league, while there is a lot of depth and plenty of quarterbacks to go around, you want to take at least one quarterback early in a 2-QB league, which is the opposite draft strategy to take in a 1-QB league.

How early? That will depend on your draft and scoring system but in a league where quarterback points are devalued, such as this league, quarterbacks were still taken as early as the third round. And you don’t even need to start two quarterbacks in this league! In a league where quarterback points are high such as leagues where 1 point is awarded for every 25 yards passing and 6 points are awarded per passing touchdown, and you actually do start two quarterbacks each week, you will most likely be drafting your first quarterback much earlier than the third round. Whether it’s the first round or second round will be determined by the type of league you play in and how aggressive your fellow owners are when it comes to drafting quarterbacks.

Clay mentioned that he’s writing up an article on the draft results and I’m intrigued to find out what his take is on how the draft played out. I only focused on the quarterbacks and he’ll be looking at each position so maybe it won’t matter as much how quarterbacks were drafted, which could easily be the case with how much they were devalued. Still, I’m looking forward to that article and hopefully it will shed some insight on the draft strategy of the experts that took part in the mock draft when it comes to the quarterback position and 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

2 Comments

Filed under 2-QB fantasy football, 2-QB fantasy football leagues, fantasy football

2 Responses to A Look at how the Experts Drafted in a 2-QB Fantasy Football League

  1. NewYorkGiantsGirl

    I mos def think that Manning is in the top 5. The guy plays his heart out. Just like Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire.

  2. James

    Been playing in a 2 QB start league for 10 years. Also, play in the traditional 1 QB league. Limit 2 QB league to 10 teams and there is enough QB’s to go around. There is nothing like the draft. Much more complicated and requires more strategy when you have to draft a QB that early.

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